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Opposition hopes for AAP’s presence at meeting on presidential poll

The meeting has been called to reach a consensus on the opposition candidate for the presidential election, expected to be held before July 25.

india Updated: May 30, 2017 14:31 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times
Arvind Kejriwal,Presidential poll
Arvind Kejriwal had personally stayed away but allowed his parliamentarians to march alongside Shiv Sena to protest against demonetisation in Delhi. (Arun Sharma/HT Photo)

Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has indicated he won’t attend the opposition meeting on the presidential election on Friday.

The meeting has been called to reach a consensus on the opposition candidate for the presidential election, expected to be held before July 25.

The AAP’s presence in a meeting organised by the Congress will surely be a new chapter in its short political history. So far, the AAP had been a bitter rival with the Congress and stayed away from any such opposition combination.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury have been in touch with Kejriwal to rope him in the larger opposition’s scheme of things. Last week, Kejriwal had a long meeting with Banerjee and appeared to have decided to support the Opposition candidate.

“We have requested him to send two leaders from his party for the opposition meeting. We are hopeful that he will agree,” Banerjee told the Hindustan Times on Thursday evening.

Earlier, Kejriwal had personally stayed away but allowed his parliamentarians to march alongside Shiv Sena to protest against demonetisation in Delhi. Banerjee organised the march to Rashtrapati Bhavan with AAP, National Conference, Sena and some other parties.

This time, opposition parties are hopeful Kejriwal will follow the same model.

The Congress favours Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar as the opposition candidate for the upcoming presidential elections, hoping that the veteran politician will be able to garner support from a cross-section of political parties, including some BJP-led NDA constituents.

However, the main opposition party will support incumbent Pranab Mukherjee if the ruling side re-nominates him.

First Published: May 26, 2017 10:13 IST